Art can be likened to a bruise. If you touch where the bruise hurts, the pain spreads.
The pain of the bruise becomes more visible. If the bruise gets big enough, people start asking questions about the bruise. People start to talk about the bruise. People start to ask to see the bruise, especially if it’s not going away. Unlike some bruises, we know exactly the bruise Patrick Martinez is holding up for the world to see in his solo exhibition Po-lice.
Po-lice draws on spaces and instantiations of racially motivated police violence throughout America. Po-lice is an art exhibition showing at the Weingart Gallery in Eagle Rock from March 23 – April 16, 2017. Martinez presents us with his All Season Portfolio, “a cross-media portfolio”, a portfolio which spans texturized paintings, Los Angeles-style neon signs, amateur recordings of police in neighborhoods, and even an arrangement of scattered high school desks (complete with white-out inscriptions of student nicknames and signatures under and on top of the desks).
The subject matter Martinez tackles is heavy, and his artist’s explanation of the exhibition is densely packed with the poetry of chronic pain so many communities face.
Patrick Martinez “chose to turn his own artistic dash cam” to highlight the slew of police brutality reports that have emerged in the past few years. This notion of Patrick Martinez calling his artistic platform a “dash cam” becomes not only a novelty woven throughout Martinez’s work, but this notion of Martinez having an artistic dash cam conjoins art and the fabric of history.
Specifically, Martinez turns art into artifact. Each Pee Chee folder depiction delineates an all-too familiar instance of police brutality in the 21st century. Whether the individual’s name is known or not, the scenes of police violence against non-white individuals is an image too many Americans can identify. Through his art, Patrick Martinez seeks to immortalize these violent, contemporary moments in America. Martinez engages the audience with entanglements of life: necessities and endurance, survival and fight.
While Martinez’s intent is to memorialize history, I argue that Patrick Martinez celebrates the new way people document and consume video of police officers viciously interacting with (particularly, non-white) civilians. If filming and viewing these atrocities didn’t come so easily nowadays, these “time stamps” wouldn’t become possible, which would mean progress wouldn’t have a bar to raise.
While some art is like a bruise, good art both motivates and preserves culture. Although Patrick Martinez is using technology to focus his art, technology doesn’t have the soul of history like art does. Human history has been captured and reproduced through art, and ultimately, Patrick Martinez helps to track injury and progress through his very human creations of very human experiences.
Where: Weingart Gallery
` [Located on the Occidental College campus; GPS will take you to the Admissions building – there are maps outside, that will take you the short walk to the Weingart Gallery]
Address: 1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041
[Hours: Weds: 2-7pm; Thurs; 12 – 5pm; Friday 2-7pm; Sat & Sun: 12 – 5pm]
Artist: Patrick Martinez
P.S. Weingart Gallery has All Gender bathrooms *clapping hand emojis*